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Preventing and countering violent extremism in Africa: the role of the mining sector

By Lisa Sharland, Tim Grice and Sara Zeiger

Terrorism and violent extremism remain significant threats to international peace and security. Although few countries have been immune, Africa has been particularly susceptible. Weak institutions, porous borders, inadequately trained or ill-equipped security forces, historical grievances and a lack of economic opportunities have created conditions for extremist ideologies to grow and persist in parts of the continent.

"The global effort to prevent violent extremism can’t succeed without the private sector. This report explains why, and how to incorporate this essential partner.”

Dr Khalid Koser MBE
Executive Direct
Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF)

To date, most counterterrorism efforts have been security and intelligence led, with an emphasis on military and kinetic strategies to ‘defeat’ terrorism. Over the past decade in particular, global efforts have also focused on strategies for preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), particularly on the role of international institutions, governments, regional organisations and communities. While several international frameworks for counterterrorism, for example the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, have recognised the important role of the private sector in prevention measures, there’s been little research and analysis exploring the specificity and mechanisms of private sector involvement. This report by ASPI, in cooperation with Hedayah, uses a case study of the mining sector in Africa to examine how the private sector does and can engage in P/CVE efforts.

This report explores the correlation between the drivers of violent extremism and the different activities undertaken throughout a mining project’s life cycle in order to identify potential risks and opportunities. It examines the role of the mining sector in actions to address violent extremism, identifying preliminary lessons and best practices from the research. Finally, it provides recommendations for mining companies, the industry, governments and communities on approaches to engage mining companies in P/CVE efforts.

The report is accompanied by a second paper that draws on the findings and examines how the Australian mining sector should step up efforts aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism in Africa. See Preventing and countering violent extremism in Africa: Mining and Australia’s interests.